Guest Post by Shakirah Dawud
The word vibe, first recorded in 1967, is short for vibration, according to the terse Merriam-Webster entry. But that’s not what it means, of course.
The World English Dictionary describes it as “feeling or flavour of the kind specified.” It is an Americanism of which I am proud because it provides English speakers with a word we really, really needed.
It’s not enough to pick one of the “personalities” under which social media users have been classified and run with that, because a) no one’s purely one or the other, and b) you can’t differentiate yourself by working a label.
But your vibe lives independently of those categories. Here’s my theory about that.
Although some of us draw quite the crowd, it’s not because we’re “em-cees,” “creators,” or “socializers.” Individuals are drawn specifically to us rather than the next nearest “em-cee” or whatever because of the vibe we project.
It’s impossible to categorize because it reflects who we are in real life, and that’s too unique to quite fit in.
Vibes vary a little with moods, but not enough that people can’t tell after a while whose name is at the top of a blog post or on a tweet without looking. That extrasensory tingle is what each individual seeks out or veers away from. And the goal in the process of creating an online presence is to try and attune ourselves to that subtle feeling we find others get from us, and amplify it.
Pay attention to who reacts to you. Those people probably see themselves as being either very similar or very opposed to the way you express yourself. Weed out the negative and false reactions and you’ve got a glittering, mirror-like mosaic of personas, each coloring in some aspect of you.
What adjectives would you use to describe them? What do they themselves point out about you, individually, that excites or invites them to respond?
Then look close at the rest””you know, the people who, when you talk about them, your accent shows up? They’ll turn into a magnified mirror thrust right in your face, but learn what you can from the hints they drop about what they feel you’re projecting. Turn those hints until they catch the light, then duly note or discard them (keep the accent, though).
Now to amplify it.
Watch your word choice. Use some combination of them, not out of a book of phrases, Hallmark card, or pop-culture sound bite. Make them thoroughly yours among the people on your wavelength. Tell people as much about you as you’re comfortable with, then give it a twist that makes people feel special you told them that much.
But don’t stop””keep sharing, and not box mixes, but home-made, solidly backed opinions.
Make personal contact with connections you admire””not just the ones who admire you. Now ask them to share themselves with you, and be patient.
Feel the supercharged crackle in the atmosphere? A box of yes-men won’t do that for you. A string of random””or even highly focused””tweets in the local colloquial won’t do it, either. Reciprocal sharing as much gold as you can from yourself and from others, though – that is what turned your vibe into the distilled prototype of your personal brand.
And that’s my theory.
Let me have it, what do you think? Add, subtract, multiply, divide it. It’s still in testing. Case studies (read: shout-outs) would be fun, too.
Image: amonja via Flickr, CC 2.0
Shakirah Dawud is the writer and editor behind Deliberate Ink. Based in Maryland with roots in New York, she’s been crafting effective marketing copy as a writer and polishing many forms of prose as an editor since 2002. Clients in many fun sizes, industries, and locations reach her through the Web.
[…] more about the vibe you give off, and the details you can give him about what you do every day. It’s the things he observes […]
@KellyeCrane Cookie on its way during today’s #solopr chat! @ShakirahDawud @3HatsComm
@KellyeCrane @3HatsComm Agreed. When I first started I took a lot of bad examples, such as the “spraying and praying” links we see a lot these days on LI. I’ve learned my lesson, thanks to examples like yourself, Kelly. But I must say I have stuck with quite a few LI groups because the discussions are enlightening and personal, and have made plenty of solid connections I probably wouldn’t have made elsewhere.
@Shonali @ShakirahDawud @3HatsComm Awesome- I deserve a cookie for introducing you two great gals! :-) The Solo PR crowd most certainly has a vibe (which those who know us can attest is a funny statement!).
@3HatsComm @ShakirahDawud I find that LinkedIn groups work best for targeted questions and answers among a collection of pros with similar interests and goals. They are not a good place for posting links to get more traffic, nor are they particularly useful for building friendships. I’ve heard several people say the bloom is off the rose for them on LinkedIn, but I like being able to search a relevant group for answers when I’m “stuck” on something.
Yes, it was Ms. Crane! I forgot her name (and didn’t check), and didn’t make the connection that she’s the same lady I’m following on Twitter. Embarrassed. But yup, it was she who led me to Davina, and from there, here.
@ShakirahDawud @3HatsComm LOL, the cat just got back to the henhouse. :p I’m kidding.
I love it when my guest posters posts strike a chord, musical reference unintended, Shakirah. I don’t know if you’d have thought I had the sophisticated sistah vibe going on if you’d seen me channeling David Cassidy on the train up to NYC a few days ago, though … and that is all dfriez fault for putting him in my head.
I like “vibe theory” better than “X-factor.”
What a neat story of how you found Davina’s blog. So in a way you have kellyecrane to thank for that, eh?
@KenMueller @ShakirahDawud “Barfshiners,” “vibe theory” – look at all the smarts coming out of WUL! :p
@3HatsComm Yes, shonali–while the cat’s away ;), let me tell you, blogging here is like being at that friend’s house with the all the cool stuff you haven’t yet had the guts to bring home yourself, lol. She’s got that “sophisticated sistah” vibe going. Being here has really raised my confidence, and taught me plenty.
And I wanted to add that I think “X-factor” probably is a good alternate if not better term here. Couldn’t think of that one for some reason while writing.
@ShakirahDawud I’ve had mixed success with LI. Some good exchanges on the Q&A and a few relevant post shares.. but things started to be too much give on my part, too much take on others (not enough like, best answers, shares). IDK.. some of the group mods have maybe opened things too much … so everyone is sharing their own posts, no one really discussing things as much anymore. Still plan to put more effort there, if I can find what works.
Thanks so much. Think I hid for too long, eavesdropped too much before taking a chance and putting my stuff out there. I’ve been reviewing my older posts and don’t think my style is all that different. I may be a little more off the cuff now, but still me. Happy to have a chance to read and share with writers like YOU and Shonali, it’s made all the difference!
@3HatsComm It certainly is something we could use to try and surround ourselves with people who really will benefit us. When I first started following people on Twitter, I did it two ways: a) their profiles, and b) eavesdropping on my favorite tweeps’ convos. You don’t need me to tell you which way earned me the better connections and relationships!
It’s actually kind of interesting how I found your blog, Davina. I was in a LI group you’re part of as well, and regularly posting, but I didn’t see much other activity there. I couldn’t figure out why. Around January the manager contacted me and (among other things) said I was welcome to pitch relevant articles to the Solo PR blog. I was like, “Ohhhh…” So I went, and there was a post from you. It was the best blog post I’d read in a while: well written, opinionated, substantive, and fun! I was hooked before I left the first comment on your blog, lady!
IDK if it’s ‘vibe’ or just an ‘X-factor’ but I have noticed things turning a corner when certain people stepped up and noticed. Whether it’s Gini Dietrich or finding someone like you.. It’s made a difference. I know I spent a lot of time reading, tweeting, commenting on the ‘wrong’ blogs – nothing wrong with them except these were the types less likely to reply, repay the professional courtesy, try to get to know (and help) you. Sigh.. just makes me think it’s time to unfollow some more people, make room for more who ‘vibe’ in tune with my frequency (even if they disagree with me at times) and keep amplifying it. FWIW.
@ShakirahDawud @karenswim Agree. I’m all for Twitter because it’s common interests that attract and motivate us to find each other. But there is a style or ‘vibe’ with some people that – even though they are in a relevant topic for me – they just don’t click. FWIW.
@EricaAllison Oh, you’ve got the smart vibe in spades, Erica :). And it’s true, even when I first encountered you on blog comments, I felt you were such an approachable person. Glad you found this post true to my vibe as well!
[…] The Social Media Vibe Theory (waxingunlyrical.com) […]
Shakirah, you know I love your vibe! And this post was so unexpected and so true to you at the same time! LOVE. LOVE. LOVE it! I’d like to think my vibe is welcoming, relaxed, down to earth and, well, smart. Yep, I like the smart vibe. :) Cheers to a great guest post here at WUL!
@KevinFremon Thanks for the link, Kevin. Very interesting indeed!
My Vibe: Inspired :)
Hi Shakirah, I really enjoyed your article on many levels as it was very encouraging and validating to read on this beautiful Monday morning. Let me just say that I couldn’t agree with you more about your “vibe theory” and have been working on a project (social network) that I think you will find VERY INTERESTING. It’s called Vibefeelr.
My goal has been to give people a more meaningful and “true” way to connect through social media. Vibefeelr is all about updating your vibe.
Thank you again for this article. Very inspiring.
@karenswim I think that did come out of my concern about Klout and other “metrics”–certainly we can measure activity, content, and even results of campaigns on SM, but not much else. It’s that little something extra that determines whether you keep following someone, even if they’re consistently relevant to a topic that concerns you, you know? Glad to see you here!
Shakirah, I love your “vibe” theory and agree that it is far more suitable than the labels that are often applied. Your insights on how to mirror and amplify that were so on target and inspired deeper thinking. I could care less about numbers but “vibe” oh yea, I could get into that.
@KenMueller Hi, Ken–I think the vibe we give off really does make or break our impression on people more than the content or substance of what we have to offer, and you hit it: “We spend so much time trying to quantify and classify, and you can’t do that with life, at least not easily…”
Thanks for sharing!
I love the concept of “Vibe”, Shakirah. Definitely one I’m going to use as I move forward in describing Social Media to people. We spend so much time trying to quantify and classify, and you can’t do that with life, at least not easily, so it makes sense that it is difficult to do with SOCIAL media. Some great stuff in here and I”ll definitely be sharing this one.